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How to "do SEO" for your small business #4: Working on your website

Esther Nelson
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Many people think that SEO is nothing more than a buzz word, but it is actually one of the most important aspects of marketing a website. SEO, or search engine optimization, is one of the ways of making your website appear higher in the search engine results. This gives you more traffic that is interested in your products or services. Having a search engine friendly website keeps you a step above the competition and allows you to promote your brand to more people.

How Do I Create a Search Engine Friendly Website?

Being search engine friendly can be somewhat time consuming at first, but after you learn the basics, preparing new content and designs for your website is easy. The goal is to get more organic listings, which happen automatically when standard rules are implemented on your website. Search engines, like Google, send web crawlers to gather information on your website and decide where to put it in the listings. These web crawlers like to see certain things, and the more keywords and phrases you have implemented in the right way, the higher the listing is placed when a user searches a keyword relating to your website.

The first step is to understand keywords and keyword phrases. These are the things users type into the search box. You want to focus your content around these particular words and phrases to bring you more finely targeted traffic. Search engines will also require words and phrases to be used sparingly. Websites that have the same words written over and over will not rank very high. Perfect your content to see the best results, then update it frequently. Search engine crawlers love new, exciting information that they can display in the search results. After a while, if you've optimised your content in the first place through good placement of keywords, you may not need to worry so much because you have proven to the search engines that your content is worth highlighting. 


What are Meta Tags?

Next, you need to understand meta tags and how they affect your SEO. Meta tags are tags that the search engine reads in order to display your listing. These are crucial if you want to rank high in the search results, plus they give you control over what data is being displayed. Typical Meta Tags include a title, description, and an author name. This helps users see what you have to offer at a glance. The title tag is particularly important as it is the first thing that the search engine spiders read, so it needs to be relevant to the page you're on. 

The meta description is also worth taking some time over because this is what is read when your site is listed in the search engine results. It needs to be relevant but also written in an engaging way to encourage people to click on your link rather than someone else's. Because of this, while it is handy to have a keyword in there, its importance is more geared towards marketing. Meta descriptions aren't very long, so make them attractive to the human eye first rather than the search engines.

Do I Need Backlinks?

Backlinks are also a large influence on where your sites appear in search listings. A large part of SEO is placing links in the correct place and giving them the right anchor text (the text that is highlighted as the link). Because the quality of content is also important, you don’t want to link everything in your post. Adding one or two links to an article back to your pages helps put you in a better position in the listings.

Can I Pay Someone to Do this for Me?

If you don't have much time (and let's face it, who does?) it is worth investing in an SEO service provider to do some work for you, at least on some of your key static pages. Keyword research and placement is both a science and an art, and if you aren't offering this service for your business its much better to move on and use a professional who is. It will give your website the solid foundation it needs to attract the search engines.